This August I left TomKat Ranch to be the General Manager at High Lonesome Ranch in DeBeque, Colorado.
Goodbye Note from Kevin Alexander Watt
By: Kevin Alexander Watt
This August I left TomKat Ranch to be the General Manager at High Lonesome Ranch in DeBeque, Colorado. While my heart is heavy leaving behind people, a mission, and a place that I dearly love, I am also excited to bring my knowledge and skills to support the regenerative management of nearly 400 square miles of beautiful Western rangeland, forest, mountains, and streams.
It has been over a decade since I first met Kat Taylor on a hike up TomKat Ranch’s Lane Hill. As we wound our way up the path discussing beautiful big ideas for the food system, we would often stop to admire the soil, plants, or wildlife that called our attention from lofty dreams back down to earth. To some people, this frequent movement between the big picture and small details can feel confusing or unfocused, but to me this spirit of honoring both is part of what makes TomKat Ranch such a special place.
In my time here there have been wonderful and big accomplishments to celebrate. We launched our internship and apprenticeship programs that have started the regenerative careers of dozens of amazing young people. We established a vast and rigorous monitoring program with the incredible people at Point Blue Conservation Science to demonstrate new ways that science can inform and learn from regenerative agriculture. We widely shared what we were learning and helped inspire practitioners from California to Kazakhstan to begin regenerative management across millions of acres.
However, during this time I also watched miracles happen on a small, but no less significant scale. After years of absence, Dung Beetles returned to the ranch. Purple Needlegrass and other vital native and perennial plants slowly and surely re-established themselves in fields that had been degraded for decades. A small seasonal stream on the ranch began to flow year-round after we restored the riparian forest around it and cared for the soil in the fields above it. And visitors of all ages felt sincerely and tangibly reconnected to their planet by learning that the food choices they make each day can influence even something as big as our planet’s climate.
I am excited for the future of TomKat Ranch as it audaciously aspires with so many to grow a food system that is environmentally, economically, and socially regenerative. This team dreams big and is willing to put in the effort to tirelessly climb and achieve immense goals. But, TomKat Ranch is also a place that knows that we cannot climb with such haste that we miss the little and quiet signs of beauty that mark the way or leave people behind that need to reach the summit with us.
To my wonderful team and our amazing collaborators, it has been a sincere honor to climb with you all! I look forward to seeing you at the top.